Grilling season is here and nothing tastes better—or feels better to cook—than a good steak. Preparing that favored meat well proves your position as the official grill master. It might be intimidating, but with a few tips you won’t be afraid to fire up the grill and feast. Here are the four simple steps to grilling a steakhouse quality steak:

1. Quality 
is integral. If you don’t begin with a good cut of meat, you’re not going to end with a good steak dinner. Quality selections are USDA Prime, Choice, and Select, which refer to the marbling (the amount and saturation of good fat throughout the meat). Prime has the best marbling and is the most expensive, then Choice, then Select. Fat and marbling give meat it’s great flavor and keeps it moist during cooking. Go big and get Prime!

2. Cut 
is the next decision, and that means deciding what beef type to buy. The cut refers to the type of beef you’re buying, such as NY Strip, Porterhouse, Filet Mignon or T-Bone, which all come from the loin area, and Rib Eye, which comes from the rib area. These are the best cuts for steak. I recommend a thicker cut, at least 1” thick up to 2” maximum

3. Season 
12-24 hours ahead with some sea or Kosher salt and cracked pepper, or use your favorite steak seasoning. You don’t want to overpower the natural taste of the beef with a powerful seasoning or too much of it, but you do want to draw those natural flavors out of the meat before slapping it on the grill.

4. Now it’s time for the magic: grilling. 
First know how the temperature of your steak correlates with your desired result: 120 rare, 140 medium, 160 well. I always grill using the reverse indirect sear method to get a perfect steak. Here’s how that works:

1. Heat your grill to 300 degrees, keeping one burner off, and put the steaks above that burner.

2. Occasionally insert a meat thermometer horizontally into the meat. When within 15 degrees of desired temperature, turn on all the burners, heating the grill to 500 degrees.

3. After a few minutes, using tongs (never use a fork!), turn the steaks 45 degrees, then flip and repeat.

4. When close to desired temperature, remove and let rest for 10 minutes. You’ll have beautiful grill marks, a perfect sear and consistent doneness inside.

With a little practice, you’ll be as good as the pros.

For catering, grilling ideas or to schedule a home grilling class, just call us at Ernie’s BBQ at 704-577-1777 or check out ErniesBBQ.com. You can also see me on WBTV and WCNC throughout the month with grilling ideas.